If you often look for more traditional-styled part of a country, visit Hanoi while in Vietnam then extend your trip to Laos. From thousands of limestone islets in Halong World Heritage and Tamcoc caves to poetic countryside and relics of Luang Prabang.
Route: Hanoi – Halong Bay – Tam Coc Caves – Hanoi – Vientiane – Luang Prabang
Day 1: Arrival in Hanoi
Day 2: Hanoi – Halong
Day 3; Halong – Hanoi
Day 4: Hanoi – Tam Coc Caves
Day 5: Hanoi – Vientiane
Day 6: Vientiane – Luang Prabang
Day 7: Luang Prabang
Day 8: Luang Prabang – departure
Arrive in Hanoi. Greeted by your guide at the airport. Transfer to your hotel in the city centre for check-in. A Cyclo Tour in the Old Quarter to visit Ngoc Son temple, the lake of Restored Swords and joy a unique show of Water Puppetry in the evening. Dinner and overnight in Hanoi.
Morning visit Hanoi including Ho Chi Minh Complex including Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, Ho Chi Minh House, One-Pillar Pagoda, Temple of Literature and the Fine Arts Museum. After lunch overland to Halong Bay, a World Heritage with thousands of limestone and dolomite island and islets. Stop on the way to visit Hai Duong “Green bean cake town” or Ceramic at Dong Trieu. Check-in hotel in Halong City. O/N Halong City.
Upon arrival in Halong take a sailing boat to cruise the splendid bay to visit its breathtaking seascape created by the rocky islands and emerald calm water, with stopovers to visit the grottoes inside islands and swimming. A Lunch of fresh seafoods will be arranged onboard. Afternoon back to Hanoi and if your time is not limited, have a break at the Hong Ngoc Charity Centre where children present their plenty pretty products made of stone. O/N in Hanoi.
A 90km drive south of Hanoi will lead you to Ninh Binh, the site of the one capital city of ancient Vietnam before Hanoi took its leading role in 11th century. The area is featured by lots of well-known sceneries, which include Tam Coc Caves and Hoa Lu ancient capital with the old temples dedicated to King Dinh & King Le reigned in 10th century. The visit in Ninh Binh starts by a boat trip in Tam Coc where spectacular limestone karsts jut out from the green paddy fields reminding about Guilin (China) and Halong Bay of Vietnam, which gives this scenery the name “Halong-bay-on-land”. Further discovery in Ninh Binh will be continued in the site that used to be the kings’ palace in 10th century and now famous for the wooden relieves of the shady Dinh and Le temples. O/N in Hanoi.
Take the early morning departure for Vientiane. Meet on arrival at Wattay International Airport in Vientiane, the peaceful capital of the People’s Democratic Republic of Laos and transfer to hotel. Lunch at hotel. Sightseeing tour of Vientiane including Vat Sisaket, with its thousands of miniature Buddha statues, Vat Prakeo, Vat Simuang, the That Luang Monument and Vientiane’s own Arc de Triomphe, the Patouxai Monument. Overnight in Vientiane.
Transfer to Wattay Airport for a morning flight to the former royal capital, Luang Prabang. Transfer to hotel before setting out to explore some of the sights of this peaceful, provincial city. There is little traffic on the dusty Luang Prabang roads and monks in orange robes scurry in all directions carrying umbrellas to shade themselves from the sun. The former Royal Palace, now the National Museum, Vat Xieng Thong, Vat Sen, Vat Visun and Mount Phousi with panoramic views over the city should not be missed. Overnight in Luang Prabang.
Take the traditional boat trip upstream on the mighty Mekong River to visit the mysterous caves of Pak-Ou, located at the side of the steep cliff on the bank of the Mekong River housing thousands of gold lacquered Buddha statues are crammed into the two caves carved out of a towering limestone cliff. They range in size from a few centimetres to the size of a human. Pic-nic lunch at the bamboo cottage at the bank of the river. Visit en route local rice-wine distillery and Ban Phanom weaving village, where traditional Lao textiles are woven on ancient wooden looms. Return to hotel in the late afternoon. Overnight in Luang Prabang.
An early morning visit to Luang Prabang Market or visit the National museum (the former king’ palace) before having lunch in Luang Prabang and transfer to the airport for flight to Vientiance. Greeted and transferred to hotel in Vientiane by your tourguide. Afternoon free for more exploration or shopping. Dinner and overnight in Vientiane.